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Cupping: An Ancient Chinese Secret?

While watching a bit of the Olympics this summer, I gave some thought to all the training and sports medicine...and I couldn't help but think a little bit about all that goes into making each athlete the best he or she can be during competition.  There's a lot more going on there than meets the eye, that's for sure!

One example of this came to my mind as I prepared for this post.  Most of us know seasoned Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps and all the gold medals he has earned over the years...
It turns out that many of the athletes in Rio, including Mr. Phelps, showed up at the games with circular bruises on various body parts.  It came to be known that these athletes use a form of Chinese medicine known as "cupping."

During a cupping section, specialized round cups are heated and placed on the skin to target select muscle groups. The cups create a suction effect and are purported to stimulated blood flow in the target tissues.  It is also said to increase muscle flexibility. This treatment dates way back to ancient China and has gone in and out of popularity over the years.  It has also become popular with celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Not all experts are sold on this technique, but there are some individuals who have found relief from the cupping technique.  I found a couple of personal testimonies to share with you about cupping and pain relief.  The first is a story about a young man who was injured playing basketball; his story can be found here. A second story about a middle aged woman who suffered from neck and shoulder pain can be found here.

Sources:;; Herald-Mail Media;Wikimedia


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